The Red Sox rallied from a four-run deficit in the eighth inning Sunday to defeat the Oakland Athletics 7-4 at Fenway Park. The victory capped a three-game sweep of the A’s, which is exactly what Boston needed after a disappointing road trip and a sloppy series finale Thursday against the Minnesota Twins.
Sunday’s win was Boston’s liveliest and most encouraging of the season. The Red Sox finished their homestand with a 5-2 record and now head out on the road feeling much better about the situation.
GAME IN A WORD
Boston showed more life in the eighth inning than it had in 57 games. The Red Sox scored seven runs on eight hits in the frame to completely turn around a disappointing afternoon (and perhaps their season?).
Xander Bogaerts — hence the “X-citing” reference — planted a two-out, two-run double off the Green Monster to give the Red Sox a 5-4 lead. Boston entered the inning trailing 4-0.
Alejandro De Aza and Rusney Castillo padded the advantage with back-to-back RBI singles.
IT WAS OVER WHEN…
The Red Sox X-ploded — see where I’m going with this? — for seven runs in the eighth inning.
Fenway Park came unglued and the Red Sox’s dugout was X-tremely — sorry, I couldn’t help it — fired up. Bogaerts pointed over to his teammates after putting the Sox in front.
ON THE BUMP
— Clay Buchholz lasted 4 2/3 innings in his shortest start since April 28. He allowed four earned runs on 10 hits and two walks while striking out four.
Buchholz’s line had the potential to be much worse. Mark Canha and Josh Phegley began the fourth inning with back-to-back doubles that plated Oakland’s fourth run, and Eric Sogard and Billy Burns reached to load the bases with no outs. Buchholz wiggled out of the jam by retiring Marcus Semien, Stephen Vogt and Billy Butler in order, though he’d be removed an inning later after surrendering back-to-back two-out hits.
The bottom of the order wreaked havoc against Buchholz. Oakland’s No. 7, 8 and 9 hitters — Canha, Phegley and Sogard — went a combined 6-for-6 with four doubles, three RBIs, two runs scored and two walks against the righty.
— Steven Wright transitioned back to the bullpen rather seamlessly.
Wright, who was removed from the rotation before the game, pitched 3 1/3 shutout innings in relief to earn the win. He allowed only one hit and one walk while striking out two.
— Tommy Layne pitched a scoreless ninth inning to earn his first save of the season. Koji Uehara was unavailable after pitching on three consecutive days.
IN THE BATTER’S BOX
— Castillo clubbed his first home run of the season in the eighth inning. He lifted a 3-2 pitch into the first row of the Monster seats. It served as a catalyst.
It took Castillo, who hit two home runs in 40 plate appearances during his brief major league stint last season, 49 plate appearances to smack his first homer of 2015. Perhaps it’ll open the floodgates, just as it opened the door for Sunday’s incredible rally.
— Dustin Pedroia and Brock Holt have become quite a 1-2 tandem atop the order.
Pedroia went 2-for-5 out of the leadoff spot. He singled immediately following Castillo’s eighth-inning homer and scored on Hanley Ramirez’s RBI single into left field.
Holt went 2-for-3 with a walk. He added to Boston’s eighth-inning rally with a single and scored on David Ortiz’s sacrifice fly to left field.
— Ramirez, who is starting to rake, finished with two hits. He has recorded multiple hits in seven of his last 10 starts. He also has driven in at least one run in seven of his last 10 starts.
— Pablo Sandoval had two hits in his return to the lineup following a two-day breather. He singled off the base of the Green Monster before Bogaerts’ go-ahead knock to set up runners at first and third.
Canha might have been able to catch Sandoval’s line drive to left field if he continued to pursue it. He pulled up short of the Monster to play it on a bounce, though, which was questionable.
— Bogaerts, as mentioned, delivered the go-ahead blow. He put up an excellent battle before denting the Monster on a 2-2 offspeed offering.
Mookie Betts, who pinch-ran for Sandoval, swiped second base with Bogaerts batting. He motored around with the go-ahead run moments later.
— De Aza pinch-hit for Sandy Leon and drove in Bogaerts with a single into right field. The newcomer scored Boston’s seventh and final run when Castillo, batting for the second time in the inning, ripped a base hit into left field.
TWEET OF THE GAME
I’m looking. Anyone else?
Don't look now, but Xander Bogaerts' OPS is up to .742, which leads AL shortstops. #RedSox—
Scott Lauber (@ScottLauber) June 07, 2015
The Red Sox will travel to Baltimore for a three-game date with the Orioles. The series kicks off Tuesday, with Eduardo Rodriguez scheduled to pitch the opener.
Rodriguez, of course, will be making his third career start after back-to-back gems. He’ll look to keep the Red Sox’s momentum going against the team that traded him last season.
Thumbnail photo via Gregory Fisher/USA TODAY Sports Images
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